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Old 06-19-2007, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Michigan
29,391 posts, read 55,609,273 times
Reputation: 22044

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Two law school students filed a lawsuit against the administrator of a web site and 28 of the site's users last week for psychological and economic injury. The two plaintiffs, anonymously listed as Doe I and Doe II, are female students at Yale Law School and claim that the users of a third-party law school message board have consistently and regularly made such disparaging remarks about their characters that it has cost them not only their emotional wellbeing, but internships and jobs. And despite repeated requests to remove the offensive posts, the site's administrators continually refused to do so.

Testing the limits of forum bashing: two law students sue over personal attacks
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 4,233,537 times
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Oh geez, this is friviolous. If they didn't like what others had to say on an internet forum, they could just leave and find another forum. Yet they kept going back for more?

And why anyone would take comments on an internet forum personally is beyond me.
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:09 PM
 
2,433 posts, read 6,679,105 times
Reputation: 1065
First a judge sues for 50 million over a lost pair of pants and now this. This case should be tossed out.
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:33 PM
 
1,028 posts, read 2,338,940 times
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Real life information = personal. If their real life names came out I have no problem with them filing this case if they can prove it. Employers look at a lot of information, including message boards and Myspace looking for dirt before and after hiring. Airlines have informed flight attendants to remove pictures that reflect poorly on the airline. I think many posters here are trivializing the effect that the internet has these days.
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Wellsburg, WV
3,295 posts, read 9,189,916 times
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Won't fly...most forums have their terms of services written something like this:

Quote:
What you post .. is your copyright (you are also responsible for what you post)

The post - and the thread it is in .. becomes property of mydomain.com

What is ours, we can do with that whatever we want. We can modify the content to our liking at any time without prior notice. (But we of course will try to play it nice).
So what the members of the forum post was theirs to post...

The forum admins do NOT have to remove the posts. The offendED members need to sue the ones who posted not the forum. Liz
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Mayberry
36,421 posts, read 16,034,254 times
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That will never happen here, we are all too mature and intelligent and use common sense!!!! Right????
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Maple Valley, WA
982 posts, read 3,307,811 times
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Quote:
Oh geez, this is friviolous. If they didn't like what others had to say on an internet forum, they could just leave and find another forum. Yet they kept going back for more?

And why anyone would take comments on an internet forum personally is beyond me.
Frivolous?? I don't think so. They don't have to participate in any discussion, or be a member of any Internet forum, to solicit rape threats. They don't have to be 'present' for a group of people to defame them and affect their livelihood.

If another forum, which I did not participate in, posted my personal information (complete with photos) and encouraged other participants to stalk me - complete with threats on my physical safety, I wouldn't be running away because 'I didn't like what they had to say.'

If they were affecting my ability to find employment (and I agree that's subjective - it would be more difficult to prove it), I would want to know, and I would want it stopped.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Wellsburg, WV
3,295 posts, read 9,189,916 times
Reputation: 3648
That's why I said the law students who are suing need to sue the correct people...the ones who posted the stuff, not the owners of the forum.

Now, if the first lawsuit is settled in their favor, they can file an injunction to have the posts involved removed. Liz
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,479 posts, read 59,799,372 times
Reputation: 24863
Seems to me their case is based on the concepts of assault and/or defamation resulting in the creation of fear and/or loss of income and opportunity. This does not, as far as I am concerned, require a civil suit but should be treated by a Federal Attorney as a criminal matter. The board should not be involved as it is a form of public bulletin space but the individuals that wrote the threats and/or the defamations should be charges with the appropriate crimes.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:47 AM
 
2,333 posts, read 2,000,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernlady5464 View Post
. . . need to sue the correct people...the ones who posted the stuff, not the owners of the forum. . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Seems to me their case is based on the concepts of assault and/or defamation resulting in the creation of fear and/or loss of income and opportunity. . . . The board should not be involved as it is a form of public bulletin space but the individuals that wrote the threats and/or the defamations should be charges with the appropriate crimes.
It used to be that I just gave up trying to convince the unconvinceable, went my way, and did my best to ignore it when people acted like jerks. Thus, I really didn't pay much attention to the bickering, meanness, sarcasm, snark, and otherwise generally nasty stuff people were willing to commit online.

A while back, I became a mod on a similar forum, and not only have my eyes opened, I've changed my mind a bit.

I think what GregW says above is pretty much closest to the how and why the students are filing. I do not agree that the lawsuit is frivolous. Not at all. You see, the forum IS a public space, just as GregW describes it. You could draw parallels to a public bulletin board, or your local bar/pub/church social. Any place gossip and talk are passed freely and publicly.

I say this because I don't necessarily agree that Doe 1 and 2 are pursuing the wrong target, either. According to the OP - Doe 1 and 2 notified the board of the allegedly offensive posts, and those same posts were not removed. As previously pointed out in this thread, what the posters post is theirs, but on posting, the thread and its contents become the property of the forum, and thus the forum has some responsibility. The "public board" has moderators to take care of offensive material, and the "public board" was notified of alleged offensive material. This is a very grey area in the US and the UK, legally, and I imagine in other countries as well. It might be a little more clear cut in China or North Korea.

The Does will probably have to demonstrate that the material IS, indeed, offensive. And, how they were damaged - like libel, I imagine.

Just because I don't think the suit is frivolous, I do not think that it should win. I'm rather on the other side - I don't think the Does should win. But I also think they should have a chance to speak up, if they believe they have been slandered.

Part of the problem, I imagine, in understanding this case for many people, will be the general anonymity of the forum. Yet, individuals often reveal sufficient, if unintended, clues to personal details that a persistent individual can derive a person's identity. I DO know of real cases of online hostility turning into real life harassment. And, we always have the case of Mikey Vandeman as an example, even if probably different from this case.

Edit: Posting the above, I had only read the OP, and responses. I went to the original article linked by the OP: . . .
Quote:
The comments against Doe I and II started as far back as 2005 when a poster from Doe I's undergrad university, Stanford, started a thread warning everyone at Yale Law School to "watch out" for her in a thread titled "Stupid ***** to Attend Yale Law." Thus begun the string of public character assassinations, rumors, and (repeated) rape threats.
Yow. That's not a couple of semi-anonymous posters bickering in a thread. Imo, that IS harassment and libel. There is more of similar stuff in the OP original article. Well, we have a new legal frontier - and it is being explored today in many ways.

Last edited by hiero2; 06-30-2013 at 09:57 AM..
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